PAF Spokesperson claimed that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is all set to induct the first batch of next-generation JF-17 Thunder block III fighter jets built jointly with China to upgrade its fleet by the end of next month.
JF-17 Thunder was developed as a joint venture between the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) in China. Furthermore, this is an advanced, light-weight, all-weather, multi-role fighter aircraft with air-to-air and air-to-surface combat capabilities. The aircraft will replace Pakistan’s current aging fleet.
The first JF-17 prototype aircraft (called FC-1) was initially launched in May 2003. Basic flight testing was completed in 2007, which marked the arrival of the JF-17 Thunder aircraft in Pakistan, formally presented to the nation as a Pakistan Day gift on 23 March 2007. PAC has delivered nearly 120 JF-17 Block I and II fighter jets to PAF since 2009.
“JF-17 Thunder block III is the latest aircraft of this series and all taxi tests and flight tests have been completed,” a PAF spokesperson told Arab News on Tuesday. “It’s first batch will become part of the PAF fleet by the end of March,” he added, saying there would be a proper induction ceremony on the occasion.
The rollout ceremony of block III was held in December last year, the spokesperson said. The new JF-17 jets will also fly-past at the Pakistan day military parade on March 23, he added.
The Pakistan Day parade is held on March 23 every year to commemorate the Lahore Resolution, which was adopted on the same day in 1940 and laid the foundation for a Muslim-majority state in South Asia.
“It has the world’s most advanced Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and the PL-15 missile, which has the highest and the longest range,” the PAF spokesperson said about the new JF-17 Thunder planes. “That is a very big edge, that our home grown fighter has the latest missile and radar technology.”